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Protect your design, your way - Marion Gillet, London Design Festival 2016

17 February 2017

Matt Hervey, director in Gowling WLG's intellectual property team, discusses why many start-ups don't consider design protection until it's too late. Matt offers some simple tips on how to protect your market and generate brand value.

This video is also available as a podcast.


Dan Smith: Hi I am Dan Smith, a Director in the IP Team at Gowling WLG and, today I am joined by Marion Gillet, Product Development Manager at the Design Council. Marion can you tell us a little bit about Spark?

Marion Gillet: The Design Council's Spark is a product innovation fund and accelerator programme and we have been running for two years now. We have supported around 17 inventors who have had an idea for their products and we have helped them to progress that into a marketable product.

Dan: OK and what value do you see in protecting that innovation?

Marion: So what we say to our inventors and entrepreneurs on Spark is that they have to take a considered approach to IP.

We are aware that all of them are a bit different in their backgrounds, in their markets, in their stages of development, so we just ask them to bring their knowledge up to a level where they can make an informed decision about where they want to go with their product and with their business more generally and what place do they want to give to IP in this picture.

So if we help them to define what is their end game they can then make their decision about what level of IP protection they have to put in place and at what stages?

Dan: And what advice do you give to Spark finalists about design protection?

Marion: Well advice, as I say, is a bit tailored to the individuals we speak to so in terms of, I mean I often compare IP protection with what approach people take with branding for example, so you can do it yourself, maybe badly, or maybe you are a good graphic designer and that is low cost but you probably will not get to that level of professionalism.

You can speak to somebody who has not got a lot of experience and might be cheap but again you are taking the risk there of maybe not having the greatest advice or you can spend a lot of money and speak to the best professionals that will really give you the assurance that you are putting yourself in a strong position. And that is the options that we give them because they will have to balance well their budget and where they want to get to and some of them, and I have seen this again last week when I asked them, we are not talking necessarily about being ready for investment but they were also talking about if I am making that decision to protect IP in a certain way, I feel at ease with it, I feel reassured that I have done the right thing and therefore I can move forward.

Dan: Thanks Marion. Spark seems like a fantastic initiative, it is great to hear a little bit more about it. Thank you.

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